What is a worldview anyway? Oregon State University (Ken Funk – March 1, 2001)) defines a worldview as:
“A set of beliefs about fundamental aspects of Reality that ground and influence all one’s perceiving, thinking, knowing, and doing. One’s worldview is also referred to as one’s philosophy, philosophy of life, mindset, outlook on life, formula for life, ideology, faith, or even religion.”
James Anderson from Ligonier Ministries commented on a defined world view like this:
“As the word itself suggests, a worldview is an overall view of the world. It’s not a physical view of the world, but rather a philosophical view, an all-encompassing perspective on everything that exists and matters to us. A person’s worldview represents his most fundamental beliefs and assumptions about the universe he inhabits. It reflects how he would answer all the “big questions” of human existence: fundamental questions about who and what we are, where we came from, why we’re here, where (if anywhere) we’re headed, the meaning and purpose of life, the nature of the afterlife, and what counts as a good life here and now.”
Believers in Christ hold what we call a Biblical worldview. This is a framework of ideas and beliefs through which a Christian individual, group or culture interprets the world and interacts with it based on the teachings of the Bible.
How significant then is the worldview that you hold? You might say to me: Why should I be concerned about my own worldview? And just maybe you are thinking, that you don’t even know if you have one.
Let me give you three points to ponder right upfront. Here they are:
- One, everyone forms a worldview. You have one whether you know it or not. Your worldview is what informs all of your life. It determines what you do with your life and all the choices you make in your life.
- Two, your worldview will take you either in the right direction or the wrong direction in this life. Your view of the world will determine how you think, how you respond to all the scenarios life presents to you, and how you make decisions about all of that. And your worldview is the deciding factor as to whether you are moving in the right direction or wrong direction.
- Three, your worldview will decide where you will spend eternity after this life is over. What you believe about God, death, morality, and authority has eternal consequences for you.
Think about this: If your worldview is erroneous, then your behavior will be misguided, even wrong. Even worse, if you are not conscious of your worldview and fail to appeal to it as a basis for your thoughts and actions, you will find yourself at the mercy of your emotions, your impulses, and your reactions. This means that you will be inclined to “follow the crowd” and conform to social and cultural norms and patterns of thought and behavior regardless of their truth, value, or merit. And where you end up exposes your worldview choices which will prove either delightful or disastrous!
Let me give you an example. Dr. Al Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, in a recent daily briefing broadcast hit the nail on the head when he said the upcoming election is not about politics or personalities, nor about whether one is a republican or democrat, but simply and basically about worldview. What you believe about God, the world, and your own life purpose is really what is driving all the issues, and will ultimately determine how you vote. In other words, we better listen carefully to the candidates’ worldviews for that will guide their platform on the issues. Let me say this again. The worldview one holds is highly significant for it dictates all the decisions one makes and all the subsequent actions one takes.
Here’s another example of worldview impact. Alex Trebek, the host of the game show Jeopardy, back in 2019 was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He made this statement sometime after his diagnosis: “Because I understand that death is part of life. And I’ve lived a long life…When death happens, it happens. Why should I be afraid of it?” His worldview is reflected in his confession where he says he does not believe in a specific god nor ”a particular version of the afterlife.”
Glenn Schultz in his public blog dated October 21, 2018, states that the foundation stone of every worldview is formed by how one answers this one question. Who or what is my ultimate authority?
I believe his statement has merit because how you answer this question, determines what you believe about God. And what you believe about God, in turn, shapes what you believe about every other component of your worldview. A biblical worldview is based on who God is. If one doesn’t know God, he/she will never have a truly biblical worldview that can direct all of life wisely and in the flow of true reality.
Solomon wrote in Prov. 1:7 that
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Later he followed up in Prov. 9:10 with the truth that
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”
Tim Keller wrote the following piece of advice based on what Solomon taught us:
“The beginning of all wisdom is the “fear of the Lord.” But how do we know if we are relating to the real God? The answer is there is no real knowing of God unless we know him through his Word. Otherwise we are creating a God out of our imagination.” And I might add, you cannot really know the Word of God unless you know the Living Word who is Jesus Christ Himself! Jesus said that no one could really get to know God apart from Himself (John 14:6-9).
In part two of How Significant is your Worldview, we will talk about why a biblical world view is vital to life and death. Then we will talk about the steps involved in forming a right world view from the Word of God. Think it Thru